HB 544 isn’t just wrong, it’s also unworkable
To the Editor: House Bill 544 is based on fear and not best teaching practices. Equally important, it applies a stranglehold on any state contract that falls afoul of this bill’s “divisive language” definition. It is an affront to the values of free speech and critical thinking.
During my nearly 40 years of teaching my goals were simple:
To encourage students to embrace the study of history.
To encourage creative and critical thinking.
To teach succinct writing.
Students learn best when inquiry is dynamic and open ended. Our greatest educational gift is to force them to consider divergent points of view, and then reach their own conclusions.
HB 544 flies directly in the face of best teaching practices, and you should oppose it. America’s goal should always be “to form a more perfect union.” Discussions of race, gender and inequality are part of our shared history. Any attempt to dilute these discussions will deny our students the essential skills and knowledge to be active, engaged citizens.
Finally, note these “1984-esque” excerpts from the bill for all state contracts.
In the event of the contractor’s noncompliance with the requirements of this section, or with any rules, regulations, or policies that may be promulgated in accordance with this section, the contract may be canceled, terminated, or suspended in whole or in part and the contractor may be declared ineligible for further government contracts.
Assign at least one senior political appointee responsibility for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the policy.